Thoughts on breeding young fish

This morning I came out to the fish room to find a tank full of mixed varieties spawning. Having just moved I am not really done setting up the fish room and this tank is just a temporary home for many fish, veils, ryukin, ranchu, fantails, and probably a few more randos. This is the second time this tank has spawned in a few weeks and one of the tank’s inhabitants are a group of American fantails from Jones Fish by way of Gary Hater. The lead instigator in these shenanigans was a red female American fantail with OK form and one of her suitors was a male calico American fantail with great form. So why not right? There are some things to consider.

The primary reason I do not want to breed young fish anymore is because they change so much in the first few years; you may breed a 1yr old that looks great now and have it morph into garbage later in life. Garbage in an affectionate term in my fish room, not unlike an ugliest dog contest. If they dodged the culling net at an early age, I raise them, their flaws can be amusing and if nothing else good lessons. However, they are useless for breeding, hence garbage. I even do dumb stuff like if a fish jumps out of the culling net and into the keeper bowl, well obviously it is a sign that he wants to survive (at least until the next round of culling). Hey, breeding goldfish requires a lot of culling, there is no way around it. Actually, there is a way around it, use older fish; most of their hidden problems should be revealed by that age and you know what you are getting. It is hard to wait that long when you are new or just excited, but it will result in better spawns.

On the other hand let’s say for example you just imported the perfect Orandas from a farm in a foreign land and as soon as they hit your tanks they start spawning; by all means raise those babies, there is a decent chance your fish are going to die within the first year and this may be your only shot at keeping that line alive in your fish room. Travel is hard on goldfish, goldfish are difficult to keep, the odds are not in your favor. The rarer the fish the more important it becomes to try to raise more fish to work with.

Eventually I will be separating my breeding groups into their own tanks, but I do not have the tanks ready and I have not put enough thought into who is going to go where. This morning’s decision tree went like this. 1) I know I want to work a line of American fantails. 2) I have time and space to raise one spawn right now. 3) The female that is ready is an American fantail, she is not the best. 4) The male that is chasing is ready and he is the best. 5) As it stands, I do not have any better females of this variety. 6) The spawn will be small. 7) I know nothing about this line so even though the resulting spawn will be small I need to gain some experience with them.

This led to a hand spawning. The hand spawning guarantees no other varieties and less desirable fantails do not get mixed in. This spawn will be labeled something like AF001a for American Fantail spawn one from group A. Group A being the two parents. I will need to think about it more before I come up with a final naming convention, but you get the idea. Then we do the same with another pairing, and maybe another, get a few different breeding groups of American fantails going simultaneously and cross them with each other as needed. I should also be able to trade fish with other hobbyists working on similar lines. Then I do something similar with my albino Chinese fantails. Eventually we will get some English fantails imported and I do the same thing with them. THEN this is when I strike and choose the best fantails from all the lines and start a new breeding group and line with them, name them after myself and become the most famous fantail breeder in all the land. This is just the fantails, I keep other varieties as well, you can see how this can easily spiral out of control.

Tangent aside, slow methodical breeding plans will result in better fish. Document your plans and your breeding activities. Use older fish if possible. If you want to practice line breeding at a faster rate try guppies. No joke, serious guppy breeders really know their stuff I learned a ton from joining the International Fancy Guppy Association https://www.ifga.org/ . Manic breeding thoughts shared. Mission accomplished. Off to work. Stay safe, be nice to each other (even online).  – Gage